Mac Editors

There are some very good text editors for the Mac.

SubEthaEdit is nothing short of wonderful for its collaboration features – if you haven’t tried this, you should find a friend with a Mac and do so – and it’s not at all bad as a general-purpose editor.

TextWrangler has a somewhat nostalgic Mac-classic feel to it, but has a wonderfully useful feature of being able to browse, open and save files on a remote machine via SFTP/FTP. You simply pres shift-cmd-O and shift-cmd-S instead of cmd-O and cmd-S. If, like me, you spend a lot of time editing config files and web pages on remote servers, this is very nice.

But the one I’ve recently converted to is TextMate. I’d seen people starting to rave about this app, but hadn’t quite worked out why. The more time I spent with it, though, the more I liked it, to the extent that I forked out the 39 EU to buy a license within a few days, not something I’d often do for a program that didn’t even have documentation. The Bundle system, which groups together the functionality associated with particular types of file, is very nice, and I find I’m starting to miss the various shortcuts, completion mechanisms and auto-expansions when I’m entering text into anything else.

It doesn’t have TextWrangler’s convenient access to remote files, but I’ve long been a fan of the Transmit FTP utility, and if you specify TextMate as the editor then everything’s pretty seamless.

And then this week, not only did documentation arrive, but people are starting to produce screencasts, showing how to get the most out of it. More info here.


I’ve struggled to find an editor I’ve really liked on the mac (and I’ve been coding on a Mac for about 3 years now…). TextMate looks quite neat, will have to try it, but I have to confess that I’m still using emacs, though it’s only recently I’ve found a very good implementation for the Mac (

I think the main thing that keeps me with emacs is that I regularly have to switch between Mac OS X, Windows XP, and Linux, and I can get a consistant implementation of emacs on all three, so my poor little brain can just remember one set of key bindings 🙂

Thanks for the link, Dougal – I also have emacs keybindings deep in my subconcious, so it’s good to know of Mac-friendly implementations.

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